She was timid. Scared of the enveloping world trying to consume her. So she hid. Inside her home. Inside her work. Inside her imagination.
She bypassed opportunity. Relationships. Family gatherings. Because it was too much to bear. A burden she didn’t ask for. One riddled with expectations.
But today her beautiful mind would not cooperate. And she knew.
She had to go there. To reinvigorate her soul. To believe that there was more to this place than what was contained on the Internet.
So she went. And discarded her fears. Trampled on her insecurities. To believe.
She opened the door and she felt it. She smelled it. To others it was a yearning. A belied sadness. But to her it was different. It was hope.
She was wistful. But this place was not. At least not to her. It was history inside of history. Books. Words. Never new. Always touched. Always a part of someone else’s life. Until they weren’t. And now they lay here. Still. But waiting.
She roamed the aisles and touched the spines. She didn’t look for books with her eyes. She felt them. She knew when one spoke to her. She could feel it, deep inside of her.
The story was inconsequential to the feeling. She was enamored with so much. And some of it was visceral. Beyond the feeling, she did use her eyes. But not to read the words. Or a preface.
To stare at the aesthetic purpose of the paper. This is what spoke to her. The time spent to create something that could tell you a story without giving you a single word of the narrative.
She had been coming here since she was a child. She came with her mother. Before she couldn’t anymore.
Before she had to come alone. And experience the profound sense of vellichor for herself. She let it soak in. She believed in its power.
She didn’t believe in herself. Except when she was here. She didn’t believe in the world. Until she was here. She wanted to stay here. Always. Forever.
And live with the books that reached out to her. To push her imagination to new limits. To be subsumed with literary enchantment.
Today was no different. She strolled ever so slowly for hours. With her eyes. With her hands. With her mind. Until she completed her loop. And knew which ones needed to be with her.
She took six today. And wrapped them in brown paper like she always did. She used twine to secure them. Her presents to herself. Until she needed to come again.
She slid them into her bag and left it on the counter. She surveyed her world. Untouched by others for years. Her utopia. Where no one could distract her. Or demean her. Full of words. Full of thoughts. Full of lives. Full of stories.
She sat down in the far corner before she left. On the same pillow she sat on as a little girl. While her mother was working. She closed her eyes and transported herself back to a better time.
For ninety minutes she didn’t move. Tears streaming down her face silently. Until she rose. And grabbed her bag full of stories and held it tight to her.
She reached into her pocket for the key. She backed out and locked the door. The door to her past. The door to her future. The door to her present. Where she could always be herself. With no judgment.
And she said goodbye. Until next time.